EpiPen price skyrockets leaving families frustrated

The cost of EpiPens has increased 480 percent over the past seven years.

ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) Lake James Christian Camp nurse Jennifer Sears is an advocate for the potentially life saving drug known as an EpiPen. As the camp nurse, she’s charged with making sure she always carries an EpiPen just in case someone has an allergic reaction under her watch. However, that’s becoming more difficult as the price continues to rise.

The medicine inside the EpiPen only costs a few bucks. The EpiPen itself used to only cost about $100 in 2009, but now the price has skyrocketed to more than $600. It all comes down to the manufacturer, Mylan. There used to be competition on the market, but another company that used to make the medicine had a recall. Now, it’s just Mylan and it can control the price. The increasing price isn’t sitting well with Sears.

“To see that huge mark up is so frustrating and to see it increase every year.”

She’s not just dealing with the high costs at work.

“I have an eleven year old daughter who has a peanut allergy that requires her to have an EpiPen,” Sears said.

They have health insurance, but have to pay out-of-pocket until they meet their deductible. Since the EpiPen expires the Sears have to pay big bucks for the potentially life saving medicine.

“This year she needs to have refills on her EpiPens,” Sears said. “It’s $650 for the EpiPens. There is a coupon that will take $100 off but it’s still $550 out of our HSA account.”

She’s not the only one. Thousands of families are dealing with the same issue, including one of Sear’s close friends.

“I have a personal friend that has not refilled the EpiPen that desperately needs to carry it at all times and won’t fill it because it’s too expensive. We’re talking life and death situations,” Sears said.

If the price doesn’t go down, Sears is worried the worst could happen.

“We’re going to have a health crisis. We’re going to see a huge rise of kids and adults that have reactions that we’re unable to treat on site. For example we’re about 15 minutes from town. By the time an EMS gets here if we can’t provide an EpiPen that’s a life that we’re talking about,” Sears said.

NewsChannel 15 has reached out to Mylan, but have not heard back at this time.

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